While the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders have been trying to accommodate Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) in the grand alliance of the opposition in order to give a tough fight to the BJP in Maharashtra, VBA convenor Prakash Ambedkar has increased his pitch of criticism against MVA irking the Congress as well as the NCP so much so that the senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar has asked the Shiv Sena (UBT) to deal with the VBA by themselves.
Muslim-Dalit parties severely impacted Congress's traditional vote bank
The VBA had demonstrated its strength in parliamentary as well as the assembly elections in 2019. The alliance of smaller parties of Dalit and Muslim communities severely impacted the traditional vote bank of the Congress. They could register only one victory among 48 parliamentary constituencies. The experience of 2019 led the MVA parties to consider the inclusion of VBA parties in the alliance.
While the Congress and the NCP have principally agreed to the proposal and Ambedkar was even invited for one of the meetings of the MVA leaders, both the parties are restless as Ambedkar has never spared a chance to criticise them. Last week, Ambedkar had advised Thackeray to beware of his MVA partners and leave the alliance as early as possible, on Saturday, he termed the MVA as shaky and said that the opposition parties would come together only if the BJP wishes so.
Ajit Pawar slams Ambedkar for his criticisms
The remarks have not gone well with the NCP and the Congress. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar, reacted to Ambedkar's criticism at Nagpur.“Ambedkar's opinions have always been like these about us. We had tried to forge an alliance with them earlier also. But, that couldn't fructify. His opinions about our party are different. Hence we have told Thackeray that you may go ahead and form an alliance with Ambedkar. We will support you,” Ajit Pawar said.
Maharashtra Pradesh Congress president Nana Patole went a step ahead and said, “Ambedkar is not a part of MVA and hence we don't want to react to his statements.”
“We live in a democracy where everyone has a right to keep opinions and talk about them. Ambedkar has been airing his opinions. But, that is their issue. He is not related to the MVA. There has not been any proposal in that regard. Hence, we won't like to speak about it,” Patole added.